1960s: Humble beginnings
The sleepy coastal town of Worthing in South England might not look like a hotbed of 1960s freewheeling experimentation, but for audio fans it’s a place that’s synonymous with innovation. Thanks to the first Bowers & Wilkins speakers built here in the early years of the company, music lovers could experience albums such as Sgt. Pepper and Pet Sounds in new, mind-expanding depth and clarity.
B&W Electronics founded
Following an inheritance of £10,000 from a satisfied customer, John Bowers sets up his own loudspeaker company.
John Bowers begins assembling speaker systems in the workshop of his electronics shop in Worthing, South England.
The first Bowers & Wilkins loudspeaker. The profit from P1 allowed Bowers to invest in new calibration equipment.
1968: Domestic Monitors
The DM1 and DM3 were launched to bring high quality audio to more customers, at an affordable price point.
1970s: A decade of milestones
The decade that saw a series of musical upheavals from disco to punk rock also brought several major milestones for Bowers & Wilkins. The company introduced curved cabinet forms and new cone materials such as Kevlar®. And it all culminated in the launch of the 801, soon to become the reference speaker of choice for many of the world’s leading recording studios.
With its curved cabinet, the DM70 changed the shape of loudspeaker design.
The first Sir Kenneth Grange-designed speaker, and the first to introduce Kevlar® as a cone material.
DM7 liberated the tweeter from the cabinet – the originator of the “Tweeter-on-Top” design used in our high-end speakers today.
The modern era of hi-fi begins. With drive units housed in separate chambers, the 801 delivered unheard-of realism.
1980s: The application of science
Extensive investment in research led to the establishment of the company’s dedicated R&D facility in Steyning. The era of MTV pop superstardom and bombastic stadium rock also saw Bowers & Wilkins buck the trend and introduce something small and unobtrusive: the “compact monitor”, or CM1.
1981: Steyning Research Establishment (SRE) founded
SRE is a hub of acoustic innovation, where scientists and engineers push speaker design to the limits.
Designed by Sir Kenneth Grange, CM1 was developed through the latest advances in computer-aided design.
1987: Matrix 801
The speaker that introduced Matrix: the bracing structure that boosts driver performance by reducing cabinet vibration.
1990s: Rewriting the rulebook
The 1990s saw the pioneering work of the Steyning research team realised in spectacular fashion with the launch of Nautilus™, a speaker that upended preconceived notions of speaker design. It also saw major product launches at both ends of the spectrum, with the unveiling of the highly regarded entry-level 600 Series and the flagship Nautilus 800 Series.
1991: 600 Series
Continuing the concept of the Domestic Monitor, the 600 Series made quality hi-fi accessible to a wider audience.
The extraordinary result of a no-holds-barred R&D programme, Nautilus influences our speaker designs to this day.
1998: Nautilus 800 Series
This iteration of our flagship range introduced Nautilus technologies to the commercial market for the first time.
2000s: Hi-fi goes digital
The decade that brought us iPods and smartphones saw us embrace the new world of digital with the launch of the Zeppelin. We also expanded into the car audio market with our partnership with Jaguar, and launched a revolutionary new speaker technology in the form of diamond tweeter domes.
Curved cabinet creativity reaches its zenith with the spherical “Pressure Vessel™” PV1™ subwoofer.
2006: Signature Diamond
Launched to celebrate our 40th anniversary, Signature Diamond was the first speaker to feature diamond dome tweeters.
Bowers & Wilkins enters the digital age with Zeppelin, our strikingly curvaceous, multi-award winning iPod speaker.
2007: Car audio
Our partnership with Jaguar marked our first entry into the world of high-end car audio.
The 2010s: Innovation overdrive
Monumental technological change seemed to be everywhere in the 2010s, and Bowers & Wilkins was no exception.
2010: 800 Series Diamond
The sixth incarnation of our flagship speaker series featured diamond tweeter domes in every model in the range.
P5 was a statement of intent: beautifully crafted headphones that were a joy to wear and even better to listen to.
2015: 800 Series Diamond
The latest version of our flagship introduced a complete redesign and revolutionary new technologies, such as the Continuum™ cone.
2016: 800 D3 and P9 Signature
We marked our 50th year with the launch of two new flagships, the 800 D3 reference speaker and P9 Signature headphones.
2016: EVA Automation
EVA Automation purchased Bowers & Wilkins - the first time a startup acquired a brand with such a powerful global presence.
2017: PX headphones
The launch of the PX headphones sees intuitive digital technologies combined with world-class sound engineering.